Home grown increases the flavor of a tomato by at least a 1000%. You don’t have to go far in a conversation to find folks who agree – it’s a well known fact. I’m growing quite a few varieties this year, and there are many more to try next season…beautiful colors, unusual heirlooms, from the huge Mortgage Lifter to the beautiful Green Zebra! Right now my harvest includes Lemon Boy, San Marzeno, Brandywine, Moby Grape, Purple Cherokee, Beefsteak, Sun Gold, Early Girl, Yellow Pear, Sweet 100’s. And there’s a humongous tomatillo plant that is loaded with so many fruits I can picture plenty of salsa verde canning in my future for sure.
I love combining flavors with a bit of a twist in my recipes. If you have tasted the distinctive nasturtium leaves and/or flowers, you’ve discovered their unique, peppery quality. Chopped nasturtium flowers kneaded into butter, (along with lemon or orange zest if you like) then rolled into logs and refrigerated, to be sliced and melted atop grilled salmon or other fish is an excellent way to preserve this plant’s use into the winter… The round leaves on the plants I seeded in several places in the garden all grew the largest leaves I’ve ever seen – lovely, round, almost like waterlily pads!
I wanted to create a dish for a potluck using everything I had on hand – which includes a couple of ingredients from the market. Instead of grinding pepper into the tomato salad, the peppery tang of julienned (thinly sliced) nasturtium leaves spark through. Accented with basil, chopped kalamata olives and a slosh of fruity olive oil, it is simple and divine. All the tomato juices blend into really a little experience of ecstasy!
The simple, delicious offering I took to the pot luck last night –
For the salad:
- A variety of fresh, ripe tomatoes, washed and diced
- handful of nasturtium leaves, washed, and thinly sliced
- nasturtium flowers for garnish (your guests will want to eat them, too!)
- chopped fresh basil leaves, to taste
- chopped kalamata olives
- a splash of nice olive oil
Stir gently and serve at room temperature.